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Newcastle United 0-1 Augsburg

Almost there…

Newcastle’s final warm up game, with just a week to go before the start of the new seasons the visit of German side Augsburg to St James Park.

After what felt like a real low during the week in the 4-0 reverse to Braga, this was an opportunity to get a much needed boost before the visit of Spurs next weekend.

Dubravka was absent with what sounded like a precaution given a slight knock, whilst rumours that Gayle was on his way to WBA as a deal to bring in Rondon now looks back on.

STARTING XI: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark (Schar, 55), Dummett (Manquillo, 68), Ritchie (Kenedy, 68), Hayden (Shelvey, 55), Diame (Ki, 29), Atsu (Murphy, 55), Perez (Roberts), Joselu

FC Augsburg finished 12th in the Bundesliga last season, comfortably avoiding relegation trouble but not threatening at the right end of the table either.

Newcastle started the brighter of the two sides, dominating possession and forcing a succession of early corners. Only a tame effort from Perez would be the result of the early exchanges with neither keeper forced into any meaningful work.

A decent effort from Ritchie and then a good drive from Atsu would be move evidence that Newcastle were well on top in the first half. Augsburg, for their part, would argue they are still at the earliest stages of their pre-season, it would explain why they looked quite so rusty.

A real worry for Newcastle however as before the half hour Diame would need to be removed, after going to ground several times with what looked by a hip injury. After his second half of the season that will be a concern indeed for Rafa Benitez.

HIs replacement, Ki, seemed to make an instant impact. Spraying a few great balls to Newcastle wide men and releasing Hayden to play in a slightly more advanced role.

The odd break from Augsburg aside, that was the pattern of the first half.

Into the second half and there could have easily been a goal at each end, first form Newcastle, with Perez missing from close range after an Atsu cross. At the other end, a decent effort following another break from the Germans went narrowly wide.

Newcastle should have perhaps heeded the warning, and fantastic cross to the far stick from Philipp Max would find Gregoritsch totally unmarked to force his diving header home.

It could have been 2-0 just 5 minutes later, again Max causing all sorts of trouble. Newcastle would then go straight up the other end with a chance for Murphy being bundled onto the bar and over to force another corner.

The introduction of Kenedy at least seemed to ignite some passion from the 21,000 or so that bothered to turn up for this one.

Decent play at times from Newcastle only reinforces the issue that there just isn’t enough cutting edge to the Magpies.

And that would be the story of the second half. The story of all of last season too to be fair.

So that’s it. The next time the lads cross that white line it will be to kick off a tough start to the season against Tottenham. And with only an away trip between that game and a run of Chelsea, Manchester City and then Arsenal (with Manchester United also on the horizon), it doesn’t feel like there is much relief on the way any time soon.

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